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Free summer lunch program serves 15,000 meals to kids

Thousands of children spent mornings and afternoons at school this summer in Oxford.

They weren’t there to feed their minds, however. They were there to feed their tummies.

For the second summer, the Oxford School District served breakfast and lunch at no cost to any child who walked through the doors of Oxford Intermediate School from June 1 through July 22 as part of its Free Summer Meal Program.

Director Child Nutrition Tim Howington reported Monday at the OSD board meeting that 15,021 meals were served during the summer, up from 11,613 last summer.

“It was tremendously successful,” Howington told the school board members.

While the meals were free to all children, the district earned about $22,000 after expenses that will go back into the child nutrition general fund.

The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the school is reimbursed for each meal.

Adults who wish to eat with their children paid $1.75 for breakfast or $3.75 for lunch.

Last year’s program had a net profit of $11,540.

“When you look that this year’s revenue compared to last year’s, with only costs increasing by $700, it really goes to show we made better use of our people.”

Howington credited getting the word out to the public through television news and newspapers.

“We had a more robust advertising campaign this year,” Howington said. “We made it clear to everyone this program wasn’t just for Oxford or Lafayette children. Any child was welcome to come from anywhere.”